January 22, 2004, 12:00 AM

After side-by-side comparison, Walmart.com picks Omniture analytics

Set up with products appearing in multiple categories to reflect its stores, the organization of Walmart.com has challenged the application of site analytics. Now, SiteCatalyst delivers actionable data on conversions.

After a lengthy review including side-by-side testing with another analytics product, Wal-Mart Stores has adopted Omniture’s remotely hosted SiteCatalyst service as an analytics solution at Walmart.com. The organization of the mega-store’s web site has until now provided an extra challenge to generating actionable analytic data, the analytics provider says. Set up to echo the physical organization of Wal-Mart stores, Walmart.com presents the same product in several different areas of the site, with some appearing in as many as a dozen categories. A CD, for example, might appear on the site simultaneously in the categories of Music, Gifts under $20, Daily Specials and others.

Since understanding conversions by category is more useful than simply knowing overall conversions on the site, Walmart.com merchandisers are able to use SiteCatalyst to extract information about conversions at a more granular level. That allows them to pull data on the response to product placements on different areas of a page, for example, or view the effects of greater or lesser product exposure on the site.

SiteCatalyst also tracks conversion rates for different online merchandising efforts; for example, determining, if a discount is enough to move an item displayed with a regular product image, or if upgrading product presentation to a larger lifestyle image while keeping the discount the same can increase conversions.

In addition, Walmart.com is able to use SiteCatalyst to track conversions by campaign as well as category. Correlating all the data allows merchandisers to assign a value to each campaign variable, answering marketers’ questions about the conversion rate on a specific size of banner, for instance, or on promotions within a defined time period.

The analytic data helps drive decisions at Walmart.com in areas ranging from inventory, where buyers can check sales performance by product to adjust product orders; to creative, where managers can gauge the effects of different colors and displays on conversion; to campaign management, where ad buyers can track the performance of various affiliates and paid placements.

“Omniture has given Walmart.com the ability to analyze its online world in a way similar to how it analyzes its offline world. This is been very difficult for retailers to do in the past but with SiteCatalyst, it’s finally possible,” says John Mellor, Omniture’s vice president of marketing.

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